'Tired of inaction,' Osseo school board chairman proposes teachers carry guns

A school board member of a Twin Cities metro area district made waves earlier this week with a proposal to allow teachers to carry firearms while in schools, prompting derision from many educators, parents and students despite a high-profile supporter of the idea in President Donald Trump.

Osseo School Board Chairman Robert Gerhart suggested at the board's regular meeting Tuesday that school staff and teachers who already have their permit to carry could choose to have their weapons during the school day, a policy he said would be cheap, legal and able to be quickly implemented.

"This method is simple, but goes unused for fear of political or public relations backlash," he said at the meeting. "I, for one, am tired of the endless talk and inaction."

District Superintendent Kate Maguire pushed back against Gerhart's idea Thursday, saying that one man's idea does not constitute the district's views. For now, there are no plans to change the school's firearms policy.

President Donald Trump, however, said Thursday to a group of reporters that he would support the arming of school employees, even going so far as to suggest bonuses for teachers willing to carry firearms.

The concept, however, seemed dead on arrival for many teachers and parents in Osseo and around the country, as well as hundreds of students who spent most of the day Wednesday marching in downtown Minneapolis to demand legislative action banning the sale of assault weapons and other firearm regulations.

"When I walk up to my kids' school, is that the first thing I want to be greeted with?" said Jesse Winkler, whose children attend the Osseo School District. "An armed volunteer with a rifle?”

“You can arm us with more counselors, more services, smaller class sizes and plenty of things other than guns,” Park Center High School teacher Noel Raph added.